Monday, June 1, 2009

Tell all...

One of the frequent questions fired at writers is, "Do you use real people in your books?" And the answer is? No. Not because I have any moral objections, but because life overall is pretty drab. I know very few people whose lives would be interesting reading.

Our lives are interesting because we're in the midst of them, living the experiences, but writing about them would be like that old punch line, "You had to be there." In other words, it would be as interesting as watching paint dry.

Many of our most exciting experiences are times of disaster, chaos, and grief. Highs in life are short and intangible. Explaining our happiness when our child smiles at us is close to impossible and certainly it isn't a book's worth of telling.

Nor do we want to spend pages detailing the dark days of our lives. Who wants to read that? Not me. Nor do I want to write about them either.

I think that's exactly why I like to write quirky stories about oddball characters who have strange lives. Just as some readers use books for an escape, some writers use the writing process for an escape, too. And if they find readers who enjoy their work, then that's good.



  1. Well, I'm bad, I always write about people I know. I base characters on friends, relatives and colleagues. Often I will get someone say - 'hey - that's me on pages 12 to 20'
    ....maybe...possibly it is...

  2. I might use a profession of someone I know, but I tend to steer clear of having anything from real life invade the story. In my first book, one of my secondary characters was named Lisa. It was supposed to be changed during edits and well it didn't happen. My best friends name is Lisa. No, the character was not based on her, but the minute she read the book she thought it was her. Then went on to complain about her character. Now I try not to give my character names of people I know either. UGH!

  3. I love that pic:)
    Thanks for the laugh.

  4. My dad thought I had based the father in my first book on him, but it was actually loosely based on a tyrannical MOM in our neighborhood! I was having issues with the woman, so vented my anger at her in that manner:)